Mike Fanelli | December 12th, 2019
One week of the fantasy playoffs down, two more to go. Hopefully, you found out Monday night that your team advanced to the second round or enjoyed your first-round bye but now the decision on who the start and who to sit is even more critical. Tonight’s contest between the New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens is the last Thursday night game in 2019 and the NFL couldn’t have picked a more one-sided matchup. The Ravens are trying to lock up the AFC North and a first-round bye while the Jets are already planning vacations and looking forward to the offseason.
To recap last week, I had a really good performance. Thanks to garbage time, both Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup both scored over 16.5 fantasy points while Ezekiel Elliott scored 23.3 fantasy points; his best outing since week seven. Meanwhile, I said to stay away from the Chicago backfield and both running backs struggled. Tarik Cohen and David Montgomery both scored under 9.5 fantasy points as the Cowboys made Mitchell Trubisky look like Steve Young. Trubisky finished last week as the QB3, scoring 32.1 fantasy points. With the last Thursday night game of the year tonight, let’s see how I do to close out the 2019 season.
New York Jets
Quarterback – Sam Darnold
Coming off a 17.1 fantasy point outing against the Dolphins on Sunday, Darnold has scored 17 or more fantasy points in four of his last five games. However, fantasy owners need to find a new quarterback on the waiver wire to close out the season as Darnold faces the Ravens this week, the Steelers in week 16, and the Bills in week 17. The Ravens have given up the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks, giving up just 12.4 per game. Furthermore, they have held quarterbacks under 11 fantasy points in five straight games and almost half their games this season. Darnold is a desperate QB2 this week and I would rather play David Blough against the Buccaneers instead.
Running Back – Le’Veon Bell
After missing last week’s game against the Dolphins with an illness, Bell was listed as a full participant in practice and he should be good to go tonight. If by some chance Bell is out, Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery are not suitable replacements. Against a bad Dolphins’ defense, the duo of Powell and Montgomery scored a total of just 19.9 fantasy points. Meanwhile, the Ravens have given up the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs, giving up just 20 per game. Furthermore, over their last five games, the Ravens have held running backs under 19.5 fantasy points four times with the exception being two weeks ago against the 49ers. Bell is a low-end RB2 with the tough matchup and I wouldn’t have a problem benching him for a hot hand like Raheem Mostert.
Editor’s Note – Powell has been ruled out for tonight‘s game.
Wide Receiver – Jamison Crowder, Robby Anderson
For most of the season, Crowder has been Darnold’s go-to guy. He has caught at least five balls in the 10 games Darnold has started this season. However, over the last three weeks, Crowder has struggled, catching just seven of his 20 targets, scoring a total of 12.6 fantasy points. Maybe he is dealing with an injury that hasn’t be reported or maybe Darnold now has a new favorite weapon but either way, Crowder can’t be trusted in the playoffs.
Last week Anderson scored a season-high 25 fantasy points against the Dolphins, catching seven of 11 targets for 116 yards, and a touchdown. Over his last two weeks, Anderson has caught 14 of 21 targets for 217 yards, a touchdown, and 42.1 fantasy points. Of the duo, Anderson would be the one I trust the most tonight but both are outside of my top 36 wide receivers this week.
The biggest reason why I don’t trust the Jets’ wide receivers this week is because of the Ravens’ secondary. Since the Patriots’ game in week nine, the Ravens have held wide receivers under 33.5 fantasy points in five straight games. Furthermore, during that five-game span, wide receivers have scored just two touchdowns and topped 15 catches just once. I expect the Ravens to get pressure on Darnold all night long and for the Jets’ wide receivers to struggle to get going. Better to play it safe in the playoffs and look elsewhere this week.
Tight End – Ryan Griffin
Since his 21.9 fantasy point game against the Redskins in week 11, Griffin’s play has dropped off every week. He scored 10.3 fantasy points in week 12, eight in week 13, and just 1.8 last week. Griffin saw just one target last week and doesn’t appear to be a consistent part of the Jets’ offense. Meanwhile, the Ravens have given up the fewest fantasy points to tight ends, giving up just 8.4 per game. Furthermore, they have held tight ends under seven fantasy points in five of their last seven games. Griffin shouldn’t be on your fantasy roster at this point in the season.
Editor’s Note – Griffin has been ruled out for tonight‘s game. No Jets’ tight end is worth playing this week.
Surprisingly the Jets D/ST is the eighth-highest scoring D/ST this season, averaging 7.8 fantasy points per game. However, they have struggled of late, scoring a total of six fantasy points over their last two games against the Bengals and Dolphins. Meanwhile, D/STs score the second-fewest fantasy points per game against the Ravens. Only one time this season has a D/ST scored more than nine fantasy points against the Ravens. Meanwhile, D/STs have scored negative fantasy points against the Ravens in almost half of their games this season. If you wish to play a D/ST against Lamar Jackson be my guest but that’s on par with standing in front of an oncoming train; it’s a horrible idea.
Quarterback – Lamar Jackson
Speaking of Lamar, this is simple, if you own him you’re playing him. While he is coming off a 19.8 fantasy point game against the Bills, his second-worst performance of the season, Jackson should bounce back tonight against the Jets. Lamar is easily the QB1 on the season, averaging almost four more fantasy points per game than the QB2, Deshaun Watson. Jackson has scored 30 or more fantasy points in almost half his games this season. The Jets have allowed quarterbacks to average just 10.2 fantasy points per game over their last three games but they faced Derek Carr, Andy Dalton, and Ryan Fitzpatrick. It is safe to say none of those guys are anywhere near Jackson’s level and he could easily score 30 fantasy points tonight.
Running Back – Mark Ingram
Over the last two weeks, Ingram has struggled, rushing 30 times for 109 yards (3.6 per carry), no touchdowns and just 19.1 total fantasy points. During that span, he faced two of the tougher run defenses in the league and this week things don’t get much better. The Jets have given up a little under the league average in fantasy points to running backs, giving up 21.8 per game. However, over their last seven games, the Jets have held running backs under 21.5 fantasy points in every contest. Furthermore, the Jets have allowed running backs to score 21.5 or more fantasy points in just 31% of their games this season. Ingram is still a solid RB2 because of his role and volume but unless he gets into the end zone, temper your expectations this week.
Wide Receiver – Marquise Brown, Willie Snead, Seth Roberts
The reality is none of these wide receivers should be on your redraft roster at this point in the season. Hollywood Brown might be the exception if you have a deeper bench or get a bonus for big plays. The trio scored a total of 14.9 fantasy points last week with Snead’s 10.3 leading the way. To be fair the Bills’ have a very good defense while the Jets’ secondary is awful. The Jets give up 37.5 fantasy points per game to wide receivers, 4.2 more than the league average.
However, over their last four games, the Jets have held wide receivers to an average of 26.3 fantasy points per game. During that span, they have held wide receivers under 15 catches in each game and have given up just one touchdown. With the recent play by the Jet’s secondary and the inconsistent play from the Ravens’ wide receivers, none of the trio are inside my top 48 wide receivers for this week.
Tight End – Mark Andrews, Hayden Hurst, Nick Boyle
Andrews left Sunday’s game with a knee injury but at the time of writing this, he is expected to play tonight. However, if Andrews is out I don’t trust Hurst or Boyle for three reasons. Once, neither guy has been fantasy relevant this season, as both average about five fantasy points per game. Two, neither guy has clearly distinguished himself from the other. Three, the Jets have given up the second-fewest fantasy points to tight ends, giving up just 8.8 per game. Furthermore, tight ends have scored under 8.5 fantasy points against the Jets in 62% of their games this season. Andrews is a top-eight tight end this week if he’s active, if he isn’t leave Hurst and Boyle on the waiver wire.
Very few D/STs have been better than the Ravens this season, especially in the second half. Over their last seven games, the Ravens D/ST has scored 11 or more fantasy points in six times and have averaged 14.1 fantasy points per game during that span. The Ravens have held opponents under 21 points in eight straight games and have 21 sacks in their six games since the bye week. Meanwhile, D/STs score the third-most fantasy points per game when facing the Jets, averaging 10.8 per game. Combine an average at best Jets’ offense with a hot Ravens’ defense, the Ravens D/ST is easily a top two D/ST this week along with the Patriots.
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